November 2012

November 2012

Upcoming AYPF Events

Webinar – Leveraging Local Resources: Promising Practices for Dropout Prevention and Recovery in Rural Districts, Thursday, November 29th, 2012, 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Graduation rates have hit a plateau, with high schools across the country graduating just 71.7 percent of students in 2012. In recent years, many efforts to address the dropout crisis have focused on large, urban schools and districts. Yet, a national effort to reduce the number of students dropping out requires policymakers to consider strategies for all communities, including rural schools and districts. Particularly for rural communities, policies and programs to prevent and recover high school dropouts should build upon resources and capacities which already exist within the community. This webinar will explore the use of state data systems for the development and implementation of early warning systems in Sussex County, Virginia, and will describe the Communities In Schools model that has been implemented in the Greater Central Texas region.

Speakers for this webinar will include Charles Harris, Superintendent, Sussex County Public Schools, Richelle Hines, Data Specialist, Sussex County Public Schools, and Mary Erwin Barr, Executive Director, Communities In Schools of Greater Central Texas.

Forum – Capitol Hill Release of AYPF Report Beyond the Numbers: Data Use for Continuous Improvement of Programs Serving Disconnected Youth, Friday, December 7th, 2012, 12:00-1:30 p.m.

Over the past several months, AYPF has conducted in-depth studies to examine how three high-achieving youth-serving programs utilize data as a tool for continuous program improvement and ongoing accountability. The three profiled Diploma Plus Network, Our Piece of the Pie, and Roca were selected because of their proven track record of success in serving the needs of disconnected youth. Key research questions included: how has the organization’s use of data evolved over time; how is a comprehensive data management system serving the dual purposes of program improvement and compliance with reporting obligations; and what information is most useful to drive program improvements.

This forum will serve as the release of our report, Beyond the Numbers: Data Use for Continuous Improvement of Programs Serving Disconnected Youth.  Following a brief presentation from each program, our panelists will engage in a conversation about the successes and challenges around data use at their programs as well as explore the common themes. Speakers will include Akili Israel, Executive Director, Diploma Plus, Bob Rath, President/CEO, Our Piece of the Pie, and Molly Baldwin, Executive Director, Roca.


AYPF Publications and Resources

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Study Tour Report – Exploring Innovative Schools and Policy Supports that Prepare College and Career Ready Students – New York, NY


This report outlines a study tour which took place between the 16th and 18th of October. The goal of this study tour was for participants to learn about schools that incorporate rigorous academics, deeper learning experiences, higher order skills, and innovative and effective practices to create personalized learning experiences and prepare students for college and career success. Participants heard from, and discussed with, high-level education policy leaders in an effort to develop an understanding of the policy conditions, such as capacity building, professional development, funding, Common Core-aligned curriculum, instruction, and assessments, etc., that will allow support for innovative approaches, such as those featured in the site visits to schools, to expand.

Participants also visited two schools in New York City that are using different models to provide rich academic learning in personalized settings. Through conversations with students, teachers and administrators participants witnessed first-hand how instruction, assessment and school culture can differ from that in traditional school settings, and how these schools are striving to promote mastery of core academic content; critical thinking and problem solving; working collaboratively; communicating effectively; and students’ ability to learn how to learn.

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Recommended Readings and Resources

Check these out – recommended reading from the AYPF staff

Municipal Leadership for Postsecondary Success: Getting Started National League of Cities

With support from Lumina Foundation, NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Families has developed a new series of publications highlighting city strategies to increase local college completion rates The first guide in the series, Municipal Leadership for Postsecondary Success: Getting Started, outlines a set of action steps for city leaders who are concerned about low college completion rates and want to identify and advance solutions.  Local officials can convene leaders from community and technical colleges, public and private universities, school districts, community organizations, workforce boards and chambers of commerce to develop a more coordinated strategy to provide students with the supports and services they need to graduate with a postsecondary credential.


The State of Teacher Evaluation Reform: State Education Agency Capacity and the Implementation of New Teacher-Evaluation Systems Center for American Progress

The Obama administration’s Race to the Top competitive grant program initiated an unprecedented wave of state teacher-evaluation reform across the country. To date, most of the scholarly analysis of this activity has focused on the design of the evaluation instruments or the implementation of the new evaluations by districts and schools. But little research has explored how states are managing and supporting the implementation of these reforms. As U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan has remarked: “…because teacher evaluation systems are still a work in progress, it is vital that school leaders and administrators continue to solicit feedback, learn from their mistakes, and make improvements.” It has become increasingly clear that the role of state education agencies will be critical as school districts enter what for most will be uncharted territory.


This paper offers an assessment of how early adopter states’ departments of education have undertaken the preparation and implementation of new evaluation systems. It also identifies challenges and lessons that can be used to guide future reform efforts in this area. This assessment of the activities of state departments of education is based on comparative case studies of six states: Colorado, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee.


Revising Federal Rules Would Promote Innovation in Schools, Improve Student Performance Center on Reinventing Public Education

While some federal initiatives, such as The Investing in Innovation Fund (i3), have been aimed at promoting innovation in education, some of the fiscal requirements of two large federal education programs–namely Title I and IDEA Part B–stand in the way. This paper identifies three fiscal requirements of these programs that encourage the status quo, instilling in districts a profound deference for existing staffing and spending patterns.


The report recommends a number of reforms to make federal programs more favorable to innovation: closing the Title I comparability loophole, streamlining its supplement-not-supplant requirement, and instituting a “challenge waiver” system for IDEA Part B maintenance of effort. The report also recommends redirecting Title II funds to support programs and initiatives designed to develop effective new instructional technologies and take them to scale. According to the authors, these modifications would break down barriers to innovation as well as promote smarter, fairer uses of taxpayer money to support public education.


An Invitation to the Big Picture: Implementing a Local Collaboration for Youth (LCY) in Your Community National Collaboration for Youth and the Forum for Youth Investment

The National Collaboration for Youth and the Forum for Youth Investment recently released a guide to forming and sustaining Local Collaborations for Youth (LCY). An LCY is a means for local child- and youth-serving agencies to pool their collective expertise, resources, and voice in ‘whole-community’ efforts to improve outcomes for children and youth.




The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels.

 AYPF events and publications are made possible by a consortium of philanthropic foundations: William T. Grant Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and others.